Lawyer Warns Of Dangers Of Using Self-Checkout

Photo by EdNurg on Adobe Stock

Many modern marvels have improved our lives and made things in our daily lives easier than ever.

However, sometimes technology goes too far (hello, privacy) and creates more problems than it solves.

The self-checkout lane may seem like the answer when you don’t want to wait in long lines while your husband is circling the parking lot with your screaming baby – but one lawyer tells us to think twice before checking out solo.

Carrie Jernigan is a criminal defense attorney with more than 1 million followers on TikTok.

Jernigan loves sharing aspects of the legal system with her dedicated viewers, and her recent video has gone viral.

The lawyer warns viewers that they should “steer clear” of self-checkout lanes.

And her reason for adding a little more chaos to our lives?


You may be thinking you don’t have a problem shoplifting so why would there be a problem using the self-checkout lanes – but you’re wrong.

According to Jernigan, it is not just actual shoplifters who are receiving charges for theft – but also those who commit what she calls “theft by mistake.”

These are the people that I genuinely think just forgot to scan an item. It is usually something that was on the bottom rack of the cart … and when they are walking out, asset protection stops them,” Jernigan explains in her video.

In the early days of self-checkout when everyone was getting used to ringing up their own groceries, accidentally leaving with an unpaid item was often considered a mistake.

But we now live in a society where there is only veterans to the unmanned lanes, and even grandma is slam dunking her bread in the bag without looking as she flies through checkout.

The TikTok lawyer warns about companies new approach to shoplifting on accident:

They have lost all sympathy, and they are just taking a ‘Tell it to the judge’ approach.”

While this is scary in itself because we’ve all walked out with a case of sparkling water under the cart or a toy our child was innocently playing with (which we promptly went back to pay for of course), there’s a third type of customer who ends up charged for shoplifting, according to Jernigan.

These are the people she calls “the truly innocent” and receive criminal charges long after the day of the crime.

How does this happen?

Jernigan shares:

It is something that [happens when] asset protection is doing a quality-control check, or inventory that weeks, days, months later comes up short. So they will begin watching hours of video.”

Then who do they see in the video?

A stressed-out mom who’s juggling a squirming baby, trying to scan her groceries – but doesn’t see that her son grabbed his new action figure out of the cart and put it into a grocery bag without it being rung up.

So she’s charged with shoplifting and penalized accordingly.

Jernigan’s advice?

Don’t pay in cash so you can definitively show what you bought and avoid the self-checkout lines when you can.

Waiting in line for a live cashier also helps ensure that the employee has a job to come back to after many employees were let go because a machine could now do their jobs.

Grocery shopping can become more like an obstacle course, where your son crawls through the toilet paper rolls and your daughter makes you sprint after her in the candy aisle, but waiting an extra 5 minutes in line beats the embarrassment, funds, and time spent fighting a legal charge you could have avoided.

Plus, who would get the snacks if you were in jail?